All photos:  (c) Elena Galey-Pride


« Inspired by Chardonnay »

This dish was way too delish not to share!

In honour of #CanadianWineDay today, we planned to open a bottle of Southbrook Vineyards' 2011 Whimsy! “Sirugue” Chardonnay to have with dinner. But what to make for dinner to do this wine justice? With a couple of half-pieces of surplus pork tenderloin in the fridge, I figured we had more than enough for a dinner for two. I love fennel with pork, and it's always interesting with an oak-aged Chardonnay, so I wanted to incorporate that. Hmm, and some mustard and some cream for body, I thought. And I had some fresh baby spinach that I needed to use. I was on to something …

Casting through a few favourite cookbooks, I discovered a recipe in Lynn Ogryzlo’s “Niagara Cooks: a seasonal attitude“ that gave me my structure. A few substitutions and some wholesale changes later, and here’s what I came up with:


Pork Medallions and Chardonnay Fennel Cream

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour

1 large pork tenderloin, sliced into medallions, and pounded thin

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup (250 ml) Chardonnay

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fennel seeds, ground

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon-style mustard

¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream

minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Coat a large skillet with oil and set it over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and separated into individual rings. Remove, leaving the fat in the pan.

Season the pounded pork medallions on both sides, and dredge in the flour. Heat the skillet over medium high heat, add more oil if needed and place the pork in the pan without overlapping. You may have to cook them in batches.

Sauté, turning once, until browned and starting to crisp on both sides. Transfer the cooked pork to a plate and continue sautéing the rest, adding more oil if necessary. Remove the last of the cooked pork from the skillet and add the chardonnay, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the chardonnay is reduced by about a quarter. Stir in the mustard, cream and fennel seed, and boil until you get a nicely thickened sauce. Add the onions and the pork to the sauce and let reheat for one minute. Serve the pork medallions with the sauce and a sprinkling of parsley.


In the last minute that the pork is reheating in the sauce, in a separate skillet, I wilted spinach in a splash of hot oil and a crushed clove of garlic. Add a quick grating of nutmeg before placing the spinach on the plate to form a bed for the pork.

I was worried that the mustard was going to be overpowering in the sauce, but that was when I was trying the sauce alone. Once I tasted it with the pork, I knew it was perfect. The Whimsy! “Sirugue*” Chardonnay was an excellent match. It’s a weighty, well-wooded Chardonnay, with good balancing acidity to take on the creamy sauce of this dish. The flavours blend so well that, at times, you are almost not sure whether the mild anise flavour is coming from the wine or the dish.

Funny moment: I was a little concerned at how quickly we were downing the wine with our dinner, and then I remembered that I’d put a third of the bottle in the sauce! Phew!

More Chardonnay moments:  Chardonnay - especially cool climate Chardonnay - is one of the most eminently matchable food wines. No lesser lights than Vikram Vij, Stephen Treadwell, Frank Dodd, Victor Barry, Ross Midgley, Marc St. Jacques, and Erik Peacock, among others, will present their take on ultimate Chardonnay pairings - all a part of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, July 19 - 21, 2013 in Niagara, Ontario. Lots more info here:

*Sirugue is a reference to the cooper of the specific oak barrels used for this wine.



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Reader Comments (3)

My taste buds thought it was delicious! But finding that wine in our cellar was a tough job LOL

June 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStan Pride

Sounds heavenly!

June 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

The chicken variation of these medallions sounds like my dream dish. I will be searching out The Whimsy! "Sirugue" chardonnay as an accompaniment. Thanks for the wonderful gastronomical suggestion!!

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervalerie makin

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